Free and Easy

LUKE Young has scored only three goals for the Pilgrims this season – all from direct free-kicks – but they have been worth three precious Sky Bet League 2 points to his hometown club.

In November, the 20-year-old midfielder crafted a win out of a draw at home to Dagenham & Redbridge, and, on Saturday, he salvaged a point from a losing position to earn Argyle a 1-1 draw against Cheltenham at Home Park.

Luke stepped up in the 84th minute, after Conor Hourihane had been fouled around five yards outside the opposition penalty area, and rifled a low hard shot around the defensive wall and into the FES Devonport End goal.

He said: “When Conor was fouled for the free-kick, I walked forward as if to say ‘I fancy this’ and, to be fair, everyone was happy for me to take it.

“They gave me a little bit of confidence, saying ‘Hit the target’, ‘You can score’. I was happy to take that on and was just concentrating on hitting the ball – head down and just hit the target – and it sneaked in the bottom corner.

“I know that all my goals this season are from a set-piece but, at the end of the day, a goal’s a goal and I know that, whenever a free-kick comes around, I will put my name forward. If I take it, happy days; if not, I will trust the man next to me.”

Luke had been on the pitch for half an hour when his moment arrived, having been introduced as a second-half substitute – alongside fellow Plymothian Tyler Harvey – in the wake of Byron Harrison’s opener for Cheltenham.

He said: “It was a case of ‘come on and try to make something happen’ and the formation change probably suited us. It allowed us to get on the ball a little bit more, commit more men forward and get around [Cheltenham’s midfield players] a little bit.

“I feel that the substitutions made a difference and sparked a little bit more life to the game. We were ready to come on just as they scored; maybe, if it had happened a little bit earlier, they may not have scored.

To change it, even after they scored, shows [the manager] must have belief in the substitutions and hopefully we repaid it.

“The character from the lads, in the second half, especially, brought us through the game.”

Luke had a sighter for his free-kick when the ball broke to him in open play and he let fly with a 30-yard shot that Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Brown just got a hand on.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew that I’d caught it sweet,” he said. “It was a case of driving into that spot and, when it opened up, I thought ‘Why not have a shot?

“Although it got caught up in the wind a bit, it was heading in, but the ’keeper just tipped it on to the post, and unfortunately for us, their player reacted first.”

Immediately after his leveller, Luke had the chance with another free-kick.

“It was more central,” he said, “but, after scoring the first one, I had got to fancy it. I got too much on it. If I’d started it more centre of the goal with the wind helping it across, maybe it would have gone in.

“But I’ll take one out of two.”